course nature ou course sur route

Trail or tar: why not both ?


Far from being mutually exclusive, trail and asphalt running are complementary activities that can benefit each other. How ? By keeping an open mind and using a bit of imagination.

The paved world

Novice runners who start off on trails tend to be somewhat rare. Learning the ins and outs of running usually takes place on paved roads or flattened paths. Building endurance and improving your stride are running fundamentals which are generally better learned and developed on relatively flat and smooth surfaces.

A wide and diverse range of competitive running events take place on paved roads all year long, including 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultras, women-only races, Nordic walking, etc. In Uk, several million people practise running, and an increasing number of them move on to participating in competitive events, with the 10K and the half-marathon being the most popular distances.


The spirit of the trails

Trail running is a sport all of its own. Trail running expresses a desire to leave the beaten paths, to always push one's limits while feasting the eyes on nature's beauty, and is associated with a philosophy of freedom and respect for the environment.

But contrary to what many people who have never done trail running believe, it is not a sport for everyone. It requires special gear designed for running solo for a number of hours (shoes designed for the type of terrain, protective clothing in case of bad weather, mobile phone, survival blanket, etc.).

Similar to traditional running on marked paths or paved roads, it's important that your progress be steady and very gradual. Don't try to skip rungs when increasing your total run time or level of difficulty. Doing so runs the risk of unpleasant or even dangerous experiences.


Much more in common than not…

An increasing number of links continue to be forged between the two sports. It makes sense, not to mention good advice, for runners to choose their routes and running environments based on their wishes and available options.

For those who run on paved roads, especially marathon runners, taking to the trails can be a good way to catch a breath of fresh air and take a break from the strict demands of a highly regimented training routine, as well as to increase muscle strength (especially when running uphill or trails with an incline).

For those who run on trails, asphalt is a great surface for working on your running stride and stages (a well-known preparation technique) and/or interval training (especially on a running track).

It is worth noting that trail runners will find themselves needing to run on paved roads in competitive events which take place in urban areas. Many cities now offer urban trail competitive running events.

There's no conflict or contradiction between these two running sports. Whether you regularly run on paved roads or on trails, the movements and required physical effort are fundamentally the same, the pleasure of running!


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